Is golf getting overly complicated?

BamBooBender

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I think it's great to have the info that we have available today. Does it turn anyone into a scratch golfer, no, I don't think anyone is really foolish enough to believe that anyway. Is it complicated? Yes. But, then I think it always has been to a degree for the average golfer. It's also been shrouded in a bit of mystique, and loaded with bro science. I'm really happy to have some real numbers and science myself.
 

GregDan

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If you find a fitter who knows what they are doing and you can check your ego at the door, a proper fitting for the entire bag can be done in a hour or less.

We the consumer see the big boys bombing drive after drive and forget they have spent YEARS getting to know what world for them. You can't accomplish that in a few hours.

The best thing to do is find a good fitter listen to them and play what they suggest and see how it goes. I know I have with my driver and I am hitting the ball better than I ever have.
 

blugold

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Funny enough I was thinking about that this weekend. I have become so reliant on GPS for yardages that I forget to just play. We had a forecaddie this past weekend and I forgot my GPS watch. I found myself sitting there waiting for yardages and getting in my head, rather than just hitting the shot. For the first 15-20 years of playing golf I never had GPS. I relied on the Blue, White, and Red stakes and just hit my shot.
It's amazing how much less you think without GPS or rangefinders. Not saying I like it more. Just saying I think less. Which is scary
 
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I think you definitely have to filter the information out there, but it's much easier to improve nowadays with what's available and that's a good thing. But I'm guilty of overthinking things, especially in terms of equipment and wondering if club or shaft x would be better for me. At the same time, I enjoy talking about the equipment out there and experimenting. There is a limit to it though, so at some point you need to go out and play. Some of my best rounds are when I'm traveling and using rental clubs, which I suspect is because I'm focused on hitting the shots as opposed to whether I'm hitting them with the best clubs for me.


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Jeff Spicoli

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Funny enough I was thinking about that this weekend. I have become so reliant on GPS for yardages that I forget to just play. We had a forecaddie this past weekend and I forgot my GPS watch. I found myself sitting there waiting for yardages and getting in my head, rather than just hitting the shot. For the first 15-20 years of playing golf I never had GPS. I relied on the Blue, White, and Red stakes and just hit my shot.
I played in a tournament a few weeks ago and since I don't have a laser, I just had to rely on the yardages on the course and my eyeball. It worked out fine for me. One of the guys in our group had a laser and he took forever finding his distance, agonizing over his club and finally making a selection. GPS and laser are nice, but I think at times we become too reliant on it. The same goes for fittings--we can't expect them to fix our flaws, but they can maximize our potential for our current swing.
 

Six4three5

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It's only more complicated if you let it get that way. Golfers today have access to so much more information than they did 10-15 years ago, but it's what they do with that information that matters. For example, someone can get on a Trackman and hit balls but if they have no idea what the numbers are telling them, then what is the benefit of that?

On the other hand, I think that a golfer can get a tremendous benefit from taking the information that is out there and working with the right people. For example, say that there's a guy that lives in a rural area and the nearest golf pro is 60 miles away. That guy in the past probably had to learn things on his own from hitting balls. Now, that guy can take a video of his swing and get instruction from a pro via tools like Golf Channel Swingfix, and he can improve that way. It's a huge benefit as compared to the past.

To the OP, I get what you're saying, and I might be threadjacking a bit, but I just don't understand how some golfers think that advances in technology and having more information available to you is a bad thing. It's like the golfers that don't think GPS devices or rangefinders make the game better, or the people that say "I don't trust launch monitors, I just want to see my ballflight." A golf pro on Twitter posted something the other day to this effect: would you want to see a doctor that relied on old technology where penicillin was the only antibiotic available, or a doctor with access to the latest and greatest? I would think the same applies to golf, but there are way too many golfers with their head in the sand, IMO.
Amol, I don't disagree with you at all buddy, actually I completely feel the same way with everything you said. Just made the thread to generate some good golf conversation! I do think there needs to he a happy medium and I definitely realize that most of here at THP are away above the norm when it comes to equipment.
 

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The comments on GPS are interesting. I guess it seems like a way to reduce thought for me. Yardage + club + hit it. I'm not a waffler there though.

Yea, there are things people make more difficult they need to imo. It can be part of the enjoyment of the game for some though.
 

Sox_Fan

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It is more often than not the Indian and not the bow or arrow that result in not reaching one's full potential. I think one would see more improvement by sinking the money into lessons to improve swing flaws than new equipment.

In regards to GPS devices, I have never owned one and never plan to buy one. The yardage markers on the course suite me fine. For me personally, I tend to over think and over analyze when I know the exact yardage. I fair better playing by look and feel, committing to a shot and executing the shot.
 

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I would say yes, many are getting too hung up on their Trackman numbers, especially with their drivers. And for what? For all the improvements in equipment, ball, shaft, and fitting optimization in the last decade, average driving distance on the professional tours is basically flat!

Odd that in 2005 and 2006 Mens number went up and womans distance went down. I wonder if any rule changes affected this. Or maybe some players retired around this time who were longer hitters on the LPGA?
 

blugold

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The comments on GPS are interesting. I guess it seems like a way to reduce thought for me. Yardage + club + hit it. I'm not a waffler there though.

Yea, there are things people make more difficult they need to imo. It can be part of the enjoyment of the game for some though.
I am not disagreeing with you, but I know that I personally overthink some yardages. I also learned that when I am measuring distance in meters, my shots don't go as far......
 

Paladin

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The comments on GPS are interesting. I guess it seems like a way to reduce thought for me. Yardage + club + hit it. I'm not a waffler there though.

Yea, there are things people make more difficult they need to imo. It can be part of the enjoyment of the game for some though.
I've dealt with guys who get their range via GPS or laser, toss grass, mutter something about being "in my gaps" just about address the ball with two clubs in hand, and are looking at the club they didn't use while they're swinging, then act like it's the club's fault they pulled it into the trap. "Shoulda used the 7 iron." Maybe should've just hit the ball confident with the club you picked. I've taken to hitting the ball better and scoring better with nothing but my scorecard for pin locations and green depth.

I think golf is as complicated as we let it be. I've been thinking about this as changes have been made to The Morgan Cup and as I've gotten closer to getting fit and the event itself...I'm not opposed to change, or wrinkles, or anything like that. I love it. But it comes down to standing over the ball and saying, "How do I get it to the hole in as few strokes as possible?" And then making that happen. Equipment changes, GPS yardages, all that is supplementary to your ability to execute your swing. They can really only affect the number to the right of the decimal on your handicap. Developing a good, consistent, successful swing is still how you affect the number to the left.
 

Fourputt

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Maybe it's more complicated getting set up, buying gear - so many choices of brands and models of clubs, fittings, balls - but on course play has been dumbed down from when I really got interested in the game. The game seems more and more a task of learning how to pick a club rather than learning how to play your ball. Players want the club to do all the work. That isn't totally different from what it has been in the past - equipment has always been important to golf - but technology really has made learning ball flight physics less important than just pulling a club out of the bag.

Need to get out of that settled lie in the rough? Take that hybrid and it slides through like the grass isn't even there. Or grab that 160 yard PW and blast away (the longest I ever hit a PW was 130 yards, and I still haven't found the socks I lost on that swing). Got the yips? Anchor that broomstick against your chest and smooth out that stroke (at least for another year and a half). Adjustable drivers instead of adjusting your swing? Sure, why not.

Yet we still see players who gripe about the 14 club limit. They agonize over that gap between the 9I and the PW that's 2 or 3 yards wider than the rest of the bag, and lobby for a 15 or 16 or 25 club limit so they never again have to learn to play a shot that's between clubs. Back in the 70's I never worried about such things. I played a couple of rounds with new clubs, figured out how far each club went from playing them on the course, and I was set. No Trackman or any other launch monitor, no GPS or laser, yet I still had it all down. Don't have the right club? Figure out how to make the wrong one work.

Playing golf has gotten easier - hot clubs, balls that spin when you want it but don't when you need straight; courses that are groomed beyond reason. Maybe it's still not easy, but certainly a lot easier than it used to be. Yet there are still advocates of taking that to the extremes of 15 inch holes and illegal clubs to make it easier yet. Why? To try and attract the kids of the video game generation to the game. Make it so easy that there is a 1/2 hour learning curve, about like that new shooter they just got for the X-box. Drag them off the couch by advertising "Golf! 2014 - The game anyone can play." That should give it a good modern feel with no implied threat of a challenge or needing any skill to play.

Okay... rant over. I know I'm just showing my age, but those are some of the changes to the complexity of golf that I've seen over the years, and I admit that I've embraced some of those changes - but not all of them. :golf2:
 

ryebread

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On the other hand: for many amateurs much of the data that can be gathered is nearly useless. If your swing is inconsistent, if it's not easily repeatable the data is inconsistent too. So there's no (f)actual data to really rely on. And I'm thinking there are many amateurs that try to rely on data that isn't consistent and thus no basis to build upon. :)
Therein lies the problem for the masses, and by masses I mean the masses. I honestly believe that unless you're playing to about a 10 or less, your swing will vary enough from day to day and fitting session to fitting session to adjust the "optimal" fit. The number of players at < 10 relative to the number of golfers is incredibly small.

This doesn't mean you can't learn from the numbers, improve your swing based on the data, and get in the ball park in a fitment. I think all of that can definitely be done. It's just that the range for the average golfer is incredibly wide so for them to chase numbers is effectively futile.

I've dealt with guys who get their range via GPS or laser, toss grass, mutter something about being "in my gaps" just about address the ball with two clubs in hand, and are looking at the club they didn't use while they're swinging, then act like it's the club's fault they pulled it into the trap. "Shoulda used the 7 iron." Maybe should've just hit the ball confident with the club you picked. I've taken to hitting the ball better and scoring better with nothing but my scorecard for pin locations and green depth.
As for the GPS, I think it is good for the game because it speeds up play. Sure, there are people like you mention, but those same people used to do all that nonsense AND step it off. There's nothing worse than watching someone look all over for a marker, step off 40 yards, then try and estimate the impact of the diagonal and then completely flub the shot. A slow player is a slow player.

I say this as a complete hack too. The variation in my swing and my ability to deliver a solid and consistent blow to the ball impacts my shot results way, way more than the club I pick. With that in mind, I tend to be quite expeditious at every possible moment to ensure I'm not slowing others down.

For most, the GPS takes the guess work out and reduces analysis time. People don't need to try to figure out how far they are. They walk/drive up, know, grab a stick and go. That's definitely faster, which I think is good for the game. I think courses do too which is why we're seeing an increasing number of GPS devices in carts.

Now, I can see a legitimate argument that the GPS takes some of the thinking and analysis out of the game. That is definitely true, but this thread is about simplification and the GPS definitely simplifies things.
 

rollin

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The more we can understand what we are doing and why we do it and how to try to fix it the better off we are but at the same time (due to the tech available) it causes a desire to be too perfect with the data which most of us are not capable of doing and thats what seems to have become more complictaed. In the end one always must posess the ability to make a good swing on a consistent basis. The fact that it seems more complictaed imo is only decieving because of available data. Its the swing thats very complicated and no more complictaed than it always was imo. Nothing about that has changed. The only thing modern tech has done is prove to us just how complictaed that swing has always been because we can now actually see it in data and/or video analysis. Whether or not this in itslef has made things more complicated? I dont really know perhaps can be both ways. I guess if we try to be too perfect and it hurts some of us than yes I would say it over complictaes things. But being able to understabd and fix certain things for some of us then i say no it didnt over complicate things but made it easier and less comlpicated.
 

drp3434

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I agree with the it's only complicated if you make it complicated. If you don't want to get all caught up in the trackmans, crazy fittings, all that jazz, you don't have to. You can still play golf without going through all that stuff. I think the part where it gets complicated, which has kinda been said, is when people use that stuff and don't really understand it, or count on technology to fix their swing faults without actually working on their game.
 

deleebar

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i feel like gps has actually simplified the game. And contrary to some of the opinions here, once i get an exact number i feel more confident. Do i flub shots...of course and a lot of them at that. But with a GPS it's, i know what yardage, i know what club, i know what swing...and if i don't execute that's on me.
 

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Golf is really simple. Hit a shot that puts you in the fairway, hit a shot that gets you onto the green, putt. Everything else once you have a solid swing, is just small adjustments and tweaking. Some people drive a car off the lot and call it good and some people (THPrs) want to source all the parts and put it all together themselves with an understanding of how every single part works and fits together.... in the end is still a car and does the same thing regardless.
 

rollin

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Therein lies the problem for the masses, and by masses I mean the masses. I honestly believe that unless you're playing to about a 10 or less, your swing will vary enough from day to day and fitting session to fitting session to adjust the "optimal" fit. The number of players at < 10 relative to the number of golfers is incredibly small.

This doesn't mean you can't learn from the numbers, improve your swing based on the data, and get in the ball park in a fitment. I think all of that can definitely be done. It's just that the range for the average golfer is incredibly wide so for them to chase numbers is effectively futile.
I agree. The average hacker doesnt even stay consistent enough to get great results from the computer. It helps and holds value but not to what it could. The varriations are too far apart. In/out on one swing and then out/in on the next, then high on the face , then towards the toe, then low, then fat, then thin, then open faced , then closed face, then a 10mph swing speed difference with the same club, over the top here, too much sweep there, and any combo of any of them plus other things, etc, etc.... the consistency is just not there. Even data shown (via videos you tube whatever) from well known instructors etc will varry. Often have to dismiss the couple worst and couple best from the data before averaging out the remaining ones. But even better players can get cought up in trying to perfect things too much. Thinking "I have to get those numbers a bit up or down" instead of leaving well enough alone and may cause other issues or make the initial desired fix even worse and in that sense over comlicating things. Again its the swing itslef thats complicated imo, the info now available only reminds us how complicated it is. Than its a matter of how far one choses to take it.
 

Rhyno

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I would say yes, many are getting too hung up on their Trackman numbers, especially with their drivers. And for what? For all the improvements in equipment, ball, shaft, and fitting optimization in the last decade, average driving distance on the professional tours is basically flat!

Not if you listen to people like Jack who want to push the ball back.
 

Wakit300

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are we making the game overly complicated? Should we focus more on just going out and playing/practicing to get better vs trying to find the perfect equipment?
IMO, and especially for some golfers on this forum (me included - see below), the answers are yes and YES!

The obsession of golfers with finding the perfect equipment is a brother to the musicians' GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), always looking for that magical tone. Sometimes we forget it's about THE PLAYING. You can get fit all you want and find the driver, irons or whatever with the perfect numbers on Trackman but it really all comes down to what you do when you're on the course, set up to the ball and make a swing.

I'll admit, I have been wooed by the siren song of the equipment companies. Of finding 5, 10, or 17 more yards. But last year I woke up. I had completely restocked or upgraded my entire bag over the winter of 2012 after my clubs were stolen in the fall. All are excellent, fill my gaps and do what I want when I put a good swing on them. And yet, the next spring I found myself looking at the new offering, reading about them here, wanting them and finally had to say to myself enough is enough - go play some golf. Find your game on the range and the course. Now I'm obsessed with getting the ball to do what I want, with the equipment I have, not worrying if I could improve my launch angle or loft up or whatever. Ballstriking and managing my game are my quest now and I realize it's a never ending journey.
 

adwillingham

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I think like a bevy of other subjects, the internet has provided lots of information (good, bad, unreliable, etc.) to the golfers who want to look for it. As a comparison, my dad plays maybe 10 times a year, will never take a lesson, wouldn't get fit, and only gets a new club when I hand one down to him. Golf hasn't gotten more complicated for him, but you can argue he is not leveraging even basic information to make the game easier. I on the other hand would rather have all the tools, and allow me to decide which ones I want to utilize. I'm not chasing perfection because it is unattainable even if I had the time to pursue it.
 

Mountain Slicer

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I'll agree 100%, I have gotten changing clubs more than I should, mainly due to my lose of distance. I have spent a huge amount on trying different golf balls all the time knowing what my favorites are, my wife ask" HOW MANY GOLF SHIRTS DO YOU NEED?" I said" NOT ONE FOR EACH PAIR OF SHOES YOU HAVE". Why do I get myself in trouble?
 

SCC4380

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Short Answer: Yes!

Additional Thoughts:
  • I am impressed with the people who play speed golf and shoot in the 70s with half a dozen clubs in under an hour. There are no five minute discussions about whether the wind is 5 mph from the NW or 6 mph from the NNW. No long disussions about which club to use or long green reading sessions. Perhaps if tour pros had to play in a few of these events they would learn that they can shoot about the same scores without the endless analysis.
  • I have a brother-in-law in Northern Ireland. When I have played with him and his friends there are no yardage markers in sight and the equipment that I see isn't anything that most would envy, but they have fun, shoot good scores, and walk 18 holes in 3 1/2 hours.
  • In my experience, GPS speeds up play.
 

tahoebum

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One problem with that graph. None of us are tour players. It is certainly possible, that while the top stays static, the bottom can be brought up through technology.


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I only put that graph up there because I think a lot of golfers think the equipment is getting a lot better every year and they can add a bunch of distance with new equipment. The CORE limit with a driver was reached over a decade ago. Yes woods and hybrids have gotten a little more forgiving but my point is I can take one of my 12 year old 350cc drivers and hit it within a few yards of my X2 Hot Pro. I just had my 1980 Taylormade Tour Preferred 4 iron out on the range last week and it's only a few yards shorter than my existing 4 iron and only slightly less forgiving. The fact is all of us got a big gain in distance when the ProV1 came out in the late 1990's but since then the distance gains have been very marginal. I'm shocked at the lack of distance gains in the last 10 years for the pros- I would have guessed that proper shaft fitting and the focus on fitness would have bumped up the average driving distance at least 5 or 6 yards. I guess guys like Dustin and Bubba are long because of god given talent, not equipment.
 

rtparty

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I'll say that for me, I'm not hitting the ball any farther today then I was 10 years ago with all that "old technology". Actually, my current driver may be shorter than the driver it replaced. Even though the "data" said otherwise. But my current driver is more forgiving IMO so there is my trade off.

Even knowing all my numbers, nothing replaces watching real world ball flight. Not everything on paper pans out.
 

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